The survey had 773 responses among small, medium and large firms across the whole of the UK. It reveals 80% of CBI members, when weighted to reflect its membership – including 71% of small and mid-sized business members – believe that the UK remaining a member of the EU would be best for their business. Overall, 5% say it is in their firms’ best interests for the UK to leave the EU, with 15% unsure.
Other key survey findings
- 77% of CBI member organisations say that remaining in the EU would be in the best interest of the wider UK economy, while 6% say that leaving the EU would be in the best interest of the UK economy
- CBI member organisations that operate inside the EU (excluding the UK) are more likely to say that a ‘remain’ result is in their best interest than those who do not – 83% against 76%
- CBI members based in London are the most likely of all UK regions to say that a ‘remain’ result would be in the best interest of their organisation (85%). Members in the Midlands and East of England are the least likely (75%), although a strong majority still say that remaining in the EU would be in the best interest of their organisation
- 73% of trade association respondents think it would be in the best interest of the UK economy to remain inside the EU. 27% are unsure and 0% want the UK to leave
- CBI member organisations that invest in (84%) and export to the EU (82%) are marginally more likely to say a ‘remain’ result would be in the best interest of their organisation than those who do not (77%)
- In terms of sector breakdown, 77% of CBI members in the construction sector think it would be best for their organisation if the UK stayed in the EU – for production (manufacturing, utilities etc.) the figure is 78%. Other notable returns include members from the financial and insurance sectors (81%), professional scientific and technical (83%), and education (83%)
- Comparable to the findings above, large organisations within the CBI membership are more likely than SMEs to say that in the upcoming referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, remaining in the EU would be in the best interest of the UK economy as a whole (81% v 65%). 15% of SME members say that leaving the EU would be in the best interests of the UK economy, compared to 4% of large members.
Recent polling by other major business groups on the UK’s EU membership:
The British Chamber of Commerce
The British Chambers of Commerce conducted a survey of 2000 business people in August 2015. When asked if an in-out referendum were to be held tomorrow:
- 63% would vote to remain in the European Union
- 27% would vote to leave
- 10% are unsure.
The Institute of Directors
The Institute of Directors (IOD) released polling results of 1,259 of their members in September 2015:
- 65% agreed with the statement “from my organisation’s perspective, the benefits of the UK remaining a full member of the EU outweigh the negatives”.
The Federation of Small Businesses
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) released results surveying 6,263 of its members in October 2015. The key results:
- 47% said they would vote ‘Yes', the UK should remain a member of the EU"
- 40.9% said they would vote ‘No', the UK should NOT remain a member of the EU"
- 10.7% said they were undecided